Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
One of the two main streets of the market. Each Saturday morning the street is transformed into a market and by sundown it is turned back into a street.
The "Payless Shoes" part of the market
The "Zales Jewerly Store"
The "Petsmart" of the market
Another "Pet Shop" with a restaurant beside it<
The Meat Section
After the market we decided to check out on of the parks here in the city where you must pay to enter. Since you have to pay to enter they are much safer than neighborhood parks...much fewer sharp metal edges and less broken glass. :>)
Look at how tall this slide is!! That's a long way down for Patience. I even tried it.
Fun on the Merry Go Round
Me and David
Faith and Hope surveying their kingdom
The older boys on pedal go-karts... you can ride go-karts and exercise at the same time.
David showing his tricks on the skateboard he got for his birthday.
Caleb getting risky with the skateboard. (Big surprise...not!)
So guess who had to get in on it all!
Joy and Patience on the swings
Ben riding a dinosaur
Josh in good ole red, white and blue
The ice cream lady made a big sale with us
It was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Everyone was thirsty (see all the empty cups being thrust toward me?) but I took over the bottle. :>)
P.S. One more day passed before I finished this entry. Saturday night I did wake up a few times thinking about the above scorpion. Then, Sunday night when I was going to bed there was a huge spider on the wall of my room. More and more I'm not liking the idea of sleeping on the floor. :>( I love what Mrs. Gregory (Steve and Susie's mom) told me after her many years on the mission field. She said people used to say to her "I could never be a missionary because I don't like spiders, bugs, scorpions and snakes." She would just smile, but she said she was thinking "Like I do?! I don't like them either! I'm not here because I love spiders and snakes, but because this is where God called me!". Well, I don't like them either, but it's just one of the small sacrifices we are called to make in order to do what God has called us to. Last night Joe prayed for me to be able to sleep well and not think too much about the creepy crawlies. God answered and I slept fine. This week, however, I'll be looking for a good fumigator though. :>) Any names, Angie?
Friday, October 26, 2007
On another note, I wanted to take a moment and thank those of you who have been praying for my language acquisition. Though I have a ways to go, I believe I am turning the corner or scaling the wall as my mom said . I feel God answering your prayers on my behalf. Yesterday was a good day at school even after I stayed out too late the night before with a fellow missionary and didn't really wanna make my 8:00 a.m. class. Lorna and I went out for dinner and stayed at the restaurant from about 7:00 until 11:00 . Late dinners that take the entire evening are common here in Bolivia as they are in many other places in the world. Most restaurants don't open for dinner until 7:00 and they don't mind if you stay at the same table all night. Dinners, friends, and family were made to be enjoyed. You must find the waiter to ask for the check even after 3-4 hours. No rush get you out so that the next people can use your table. I love that about living here. Anyway, Thursday was a good day at school and with my language helper too (think: personal tutor who let's me practice my Spanish with her) even after the late night before. My desire to speak is gaining momentum I think. Even yesterday at lunch a Bolivian friend said that she thought we were learning to speak well. She said that she knows another ex-pat family that's been here a year and aren't speaking as much as we are. That was encouraging. More than anything I just feel the Lord's presence with me carrying me through it all. I know that He is giving me the desire and the ability to carry out this task to which He has called me. I believe that He will continue to enable me. He is answering your prayers for me, so once again THANK YOU for praying. Keep it up!!
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Empty Ice Trays
When I was growing up, my dad rarely lost his temper. However, I recently remembered one occasion when it happened. We lived in Texas, and dad came in after working outside in the hot Texas summer sun. He went to the cabinet, got out a glass, picked up the pitcher of tea, and opened the freezer. In a sudden fit of rage, he yelled (something that I have probably blocked from my memory J) and threw six empty ice trays across the room. He could not believe that people would put empty ice trays in the freezer! Why would you do that? I distinctly remember shrinking down into my chair, but in my 10 or 11 year old mind I thought, “Dad, you are overreacting just a little. It’s only an ice tray. Give it a rest.” (yes, it was disrespectful, but I remember thinking it).
Now, as a 44 year old man I understand. You see, history does repeat itself. In the States, you live in the age of ice makers. Here, we live in the age of ‘probably don’t have a freezer but if you do, you have ice trays’. We have ice trays. We have a lot of ice trays. The freezer on our fridge serves NO other purpose but to hold our ice trays. That is it. This is necessary because Denise, much to dental chagrin, eats ice like it is cotton candy. It just disappears into your mouth. She is an addict. Not only do our ice trays have to keep up with Denise’s vice of ice eating…they also have to furnish our family of 11 with ice for our tea, water and occasional coke.
So, you would think that our kids…who also like ice…would by now have discovered a rule of physics. It is this: Water has to be at 32 degrees or less in order to become a solid. If you want ice, then you have to put water in the ice tray and put the tray in the freezer. Now, this isn’t a difficult task. It is one that even our five year old can accomplish with minimum effort. We keep a gallon of filtered water (we can’t drink tap water) on the counter in a thermos with a spigot. You put the ice tray under the spigot, open it and in 10 seconds you have a tray full of potential ice. Now, all you need to do is put it in the freezer. Simple. It isn’t rocket science or homeschool math.
But day after day….literally ALMOST EVERY DAY, I go to the freezer to get ice and all I find are empty ice trays…in the stinking freezer! I have, in the role of my own father (without the rage and baseball pitch) queried my kids. “Why in the world can you not simply take ten seconds and refill the ice tray when you use it? Why do you insist on just taking one cube, rather than empty the tray into the bucket and refilling it? Why, when you know that you have taken the last tray, do you put…or leave…it in the freezer?
Today….I had already planned on writing this article…and as a real-life illustration, I opened the freezer to get some ice for a drink. There was not a single cube of ice! There was no ice in the bucket, and no ice in the trays. Now, remember, all of the ice trays and the bucket were in the freezer. We had plenty of ‘cold air cubes’, but no ice, and the thing about it is that you don’t know it until you need it. Ice trays look good until you pick them up and find that they have no ice.
Here is my question? What good is an empty ice tray? What does it do when it isn’t fulfilling its purpose of making ice? Why would anyone put an empty ice tray in the freezer….a molded plastic container full of potential pleasure now only taking up space and producing frustration? Well, my kids have one of two answers. Either they, like the famous Sergeant Schultz of ‘Hogan’s Heroes’….”Know nothing, see nothing!” They didn’t even know we had ice trays…or a freezer…or glasses. J Or, the other answer is, “I didn’t know it was empty. I just took one cube.”
Empty Ice Trays.
Empty Ice Trays..
Empty Ice Trays…you know what? Empty Ice Trays are unfortunately a great word picture for many Christians.
I believe that sometimes God looks at us and thinks…why are you doing that? Why are you satisfied with empty potential when you could have spirit-filled purpose? Why are you allowing yourself to simply take up space, instead of bringing pleasure to the One Who made you? Why are you frustrated with life, when God created you to have passion in life?
Well, we don’t know how it happened. We just took one cube at a time. This cube was taken by the effort that homeschooling our kids requires. Then another cube was removed by the pain a friend caused. The third cube, and then the fourth and fifth one, were jerked out of our heart by financial pressures. Then there are the cubes that just fell out during the course of life and melted unused on the floor. Bitterness melted the ninth…and so on.
We never even knew that our tray…our hearts…were empty. They still looked shiny to people from a distance. Our lives look good to those across the auditorium, or on the phone, or in the other office. We appear to be doing exactly what we should.
But…when we examine our insides…or God lovingly picks us up when it is time for our purpose to be realized…we discover that we are shiny, plastic Christians. There is no substance in our lives.
And the sad part is this. Refilling is so easy that even your five year old believer can do it. It is even easier than filling an ice tray. We simply look to Jesus. We confess the sin that melted our cube…or we ask for help to replace the hole that life drained out of us. Jesus hears and sees us, and then the Holy Spirit of the Living God will come into us and fill us. He will abide in us, and we will abide in Him…and when that happens (to leave the ice metaphor), we will bear much fruit and glorify the Father.
My fellow homeschooler…your children are like me in my home. They can see the reality in the tray. They know whether you are empty or filled. Are you, right now, full of the Holy Spirit and bringing glory to Christ in the way that you educate, train, and respond to the life situations of homeschooling? Or is there another ice tray flying across the room in frustration?
Living on the mission field has given me plenty of opportunities to have my heart emptied…so I know what I am talking about. Jesus is enough, and He wants to us to be full…not just when we are empty…but anytime something removes a single cube. And life is too short….and people are too important…to live it on empty.
Until Next Month,
Joe…A Proud Member Of The Frozen Chosen
At least for this article